Statement on strategy and tactics discussions towards the 54th National Conference
15 December 2017
The draft Strategy and Tactics that was presented to the 5th National Policy Conference that took place from the 30th June – 05 July 2017, agreed with the general thrust of the document.
True to its democratic culture and tradition, the National Policy Conference of the ANC discussed this document and made a number of recommendations, which I will elaborate further below:
It is critical that the S&T is also anchored on the Characterisation of the major tasks and thus informing the title of the document. In this context, is agreed that the fundamental task of the current moment is to enhance the ANC’s integrity for it to lead society and intensified action towards a national democratic society.
The Strategic goals of the ANC and the National Democratic Society we are building: are informed amongst others: a combination of the best attributes of a developmental state and social democracy – reflecting both a desire to embark on a much higher trajectory of economic growth and to ensure redistribution of wealth in favour of the working people, including women.
It is necessary for emphasis to be made that the state we are creating is a capable, democratic developmental state, with strategic orientation, popular legitimacy, a system that places the needs of the poor and a social safety net at the top of the agenda; and intense role of the state in economic life as well as organisational and technical capacity.
The unleashing of a revolution similar to ours should be punctuated a clarity of thought, ideas and deeper understanding of the current period. Accordingly, Monopoly capital is a concept of general and political economics to describe manifestations of capitalism at a certain stage of development, as well as the levels of centralisation and concentration of capital, and the conduct of dominant entities in a variety of national and global settings.
The approach of the ANC towards monopoly capital in particular and capital in general is accurately captured in the 2007 Strategy and Tactics document, as one of ‘unity and struggle, co-operation and contestation.’
However, the contextual issues are also critical in improving our understanding of the situation in order to develop a proper diagnosis. Therefore, it is inescapable that SA is impacted upon by globalisation at various fronts, especially monopolistic corporations.
Another salient point is that Monopoly capital in South Africa historically and even today is overwhelmingly white and male, as part of deliberate policies of colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy, and their legacies. White monopoly capital has close links (with regard both to ownership and control) to global multi-national corporations. This is no intention to conflate monopoly capital with the reality of white dominance in the economy.
The National Policy Conference was emphatic on be more clearer and elaborate on the interventions required to build an economy with high levels of competition, and to discipline monopolies, including the strengthening of competition authorities and enhanced activism on their part; regulation; deliberate and effective industrial policy that facilitates and promotes new entrants and medium, small and micro-enterprises; greater competition in all sectors through licensing, incentives and other means; interventions in value chains; state procurement and so on. These policies and programmes must also help stem illicit financial flows.
BALANCE OF FORCES
Evidence is abounding that a variety of objective conditions and subjective factors point to the fact that the balance of forces is not much in the liberation movement’s favour. Therefore, we should continually sharpen our reading of the balance of forces in order to take advantage of positive circumstances and to prevent or minimise the impact of unfavourable ones.
The notions of ‘neo-colonialism of a special type’ and ‘racial capital’ are part of the debate in the Characterisation of South African society as it exists today. However, the Policy Conference felt that the notion of ‘neo-colonialism of a special type’ should be applied as a warning of where our society may end up if the programmes of social change are not pursued with efficiency and speed.
Global balance of forces.
The conference recommended that a further work be done on this section:
(a). A more detailed assessment of dynamics on the African continent
(b). Strengthening of the global analysis on geopolitics, economic and trade dynamics, multilateralism and so on.
MOTIVE FORCES AND CHARACTER OF THE ANC
Motive forces are all those that stand to benefit from the cause of social transformation.
The phenomenon of stubbornly high rates of unemployment, especially among the youth, has spawned a growing section of society that is susceptible to both extreme right- and left-wing populist mobilisation.
In dealing with the rural poor, we need to highlight the special position occupied by rural women, who in large measure are the pillars of these communities, and who suffer extreme privations due, among others, to the migrant labour system and patriarchal practices.
Enhancing the character, integrity and role of the ANC
There should be brief reference to the attitude and approach that the ANC should adopt towards the emergent left and civil society formations in South Africa.
Reference to the difficulties experienced by COSATU should include the roles played by both the SACP and the ANC in this regard.
The ANC must strengthen the campaign by COSATU and others for one industry, one union and one country, one federation.
We must include in the section dealing with the Character of the ANC, the fact that it ‘also contests elections and draws its electoral support from all sections of South African society.’ In a system of multi-party democracy, the ANC must therefore not only build capacity for governance (policies, cadreship, etc), but also develop strategies for coalition politics and being an opposition.
PILLARS OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
There was emphasis on the fact that, all the efforts we seek to undertake to change South African society, require an effective state, both technically and in terms of its orientation. In other words, continuing transformation and strengthening of the state machinery, including State-owned Enterprises, is fundamental to speeding up the implementation of programmes of social change in the context of the second phase of radical socio-economic transformation.
The strengthening of the ethical fibre of the state is critical not only to ensure its effectiveness; but also, to enhance its legitimacy in the eyes of society. This requires us to continually build and institutionalise the integrity, transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the state machinery.
In this regard, while the state should be embedded among all sectors of society, it should act autonomously in taking decisions and implementing them. Any form of state capture, by any segment of society, should therefore be condemned and combated.
The radical social and economic transformation entails social and economic change that straddles all elements of economic activity, and consistently improves the quality of life of all South Africans, especially the poor.
Ideological struggle and battle of ideas
The ANC must continue to engage, organise and mobilise all sectors of society, in their great variety, dynamism and ever-evolving nature around our common vision of building a National Democratic Society. Its engagement in the battle of ideas and ideological struggle is therefore about winning hegemony on the basis of integrity and progressiveness of our ideas, and how we conduct the revolution and ourselves as an organisation.
Issued by Nathi Mthethwa, Chairperson, ANC NEC SubCommittee on Political Education, 15 December 2017